In 1998, an auction of the estate of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor causes great excitement. For one woman, Wally Winthrop, it has much more meaning. Wally becomes obsessed by their historic love story. As she learns more about the sacrifices involved, Wally gains her own courage to find happiness. Written by
I will not be revealing any spoilers. I just want to highlight the fact that I can now confirm for myself that critics are jaded and they will write off anything Madonna does in the film business. That is not to say most of her previous works weren't dismal at best, but I always felt they weren't as bad as critics bashed.
However, we're here to discuss W.E. A film that Madonna does not star in and that may just be the brilliance of it all. I screened it last night after winning a contest and I must say, as a Madonna fan, I walked in with the assumption that I wouldn't like the movie but I would search for little things that I could enjoy and emphasize those things. That had to be the last thing in the world I did once the film commenced. Even in the same room with Madonna and other fashionistas, celebrities and artists, I completely forgot where I was and I soon found myself captivated by the story.
The intertwining of the old and new, historical loosely based romance with a modern romance, music old and new was brilliantly executed by Madonna. The film really emphasized how the general public scrutinize public figures and demonize others without a clear understanding of who they are and how politics can destroy the chance of love and how King Edward would ultimately not have that.
Intertwined with the modern tale of a New York City woman who's fascinated by the story, there are flashbacks that go through the delicate history of the royal family in the particular time that Wallis Simpson, then married, met King Edward.. It is not a fact-by-fact story. It is an attempt to take a look at things from a different perspective because after all there are two sides to every story, if not more than two sides.
Although set design, location and costume design were unbelievable, I will not speak further on it because critics said that that was the only thing good about the film so I'll let that speak for itself.
Every character was played and executed brilliantly and it was just a captivating story from beginning to end. I take pride in my love for Madonna but I also take pride in my love for film and I walked in knowing I wouldn't lie to myself. If I liked it, I liked it. If I loved it, then so be it. If I hated it, oh well.
Fortunately, I found that everyone in the audience was pleasantly surprised, almost as if they were cheering on the fact that it will be seen for what it is. That no one has to defend it. Leave it to the film-goer to make that desicion.
The camera work was beautiful, slow but intermixed with a haunting score and pivotal performances. I really hope people watch it with an open mind and forget Madonna directed it. At least until the credits roll and her new song Masterpiece begins and you remember why we love Madonna in the first place. Her music is profound and the song Masterpiece is a beautiful closer to the film.
After the film, everyone was energized and the buzz carried out into the halls where people stood discussing the film. I can't wait to re-watch it with my friends on Friday for its limited release and then once more at opening night on February 3rd.
I will be buying this film for my DVD collection. It's worth it and that's more than I thought I'd ever say about it.
***1/2(out of 5)
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